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December 17, 2006


Thanks, emptywheel, you've made a brilliant tactical move here, generating an Op-Ed that the White House can't censor.

"The Administration's efforts in the Middle East are strengthening Iran."

When-oh-when are the right-wing backers of this administration - in and out of the media, on and off the blogosphere - going to figure out that the GOP, as run by Mister Bush and his mentors and minions are the exact opposite of what they claim to be: strong on national security?

Well, that was the idea, at least, MB.

We ought to start circulating versions of this to prove just how futile and pathetic their latest attempts to censor information are.

Can't help but smile at the ingenuity. I seem to remember a line one of Brad Pitt's characters uttered, 'Aye, but they would do well to remember that I am not alone, there are thousands at my back'.



Maybe the analysts that transferred to DOD/DIA from CIA ended up at the 'World Security Bureau' and not the US Institute For Peace(ISG creator) It looks like theyr'e working on China now and selling out of N Korea.

Maybe they needed the above cleared by CIA because the work that the US Navy(exercise) did with China as Kim launched his 'Chinese fireworks' on the 4th of July?

In fact, the currrent administration has proven to be so inept at national security, that a reasonable person might wonder if its actions, or lack thereof, are intentional.

As I have commented here or elsewhere before, I had an interesting conversation at Christmas 2004 with the husband of my first cousin, who happens to be a senior-level oil exploration engineer who works for one of the majors in Houston. As might be expected, I was still a bit non-plussed by the recent election results, and wanted to probe what had motivated people like him, clearly an intelligent fellow, to trust Bush - we had a brief talk about "peak oil," and he agreed that it is probably imminent, but that the "shape of the tail of the distribution" depended on the price of oil at the well-head. So I asked about Iraq. To wit, "Do you think Bush has made ANY mistakes in his Iraq adventure?" The answer: "No, things are going pretty much as planned, I think."

Now I don't credit this relative with any particular political insight - he let on that he got most of his information on the state of the political world from Fox News (sigh). However, I do credit him with special, high-level expertise regarding the interests of American oil majors, particularly in terms of future production and pricing arrangements. He did complain about the short-sightedness of "the financial people" he had to work with. But when it came to long-term energy strategy, he was hand in glove with BushCo.

I haven't had a chance to talk with him since - I think he thinks I'm some kind of dirty fucking hippy who learned how to finagle a living at the public trough, so we are not, shall I say, regular correspondents. I sure would like to ask him some questions about Iran, though. The "intel" in this post, EW, about Iran's standing as potential supplier of hydrocarbon-based energy is gripping. I wonder if my cousin's husband is happy now about prospects for tapping the Persian bonanza.

Actually, I think this may have been the part that was censored.... the evidence that the Bush regime had been in bi-lateral talks with Iran, that they were showing considerable progress, and Bush screwed everything up with his "axis of evil" speech....

Tehran appeared to have a variety of motives for cooperating with Bush administration on Afghanistan. At a minimum, Iranian policymakers—well
aware of the State Department’s longstanding description of the Islamic Republic as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism—wanted to avoid getting caught on the downside of the administration’s self-declared “global war on terror.” But Iran also seemed to sense a potential strategic opportunity. Iranian diplomats involved in the bilateral channel on Afghanistan indicated to their U.S. counterparts that the discussions were being closely followed at the highest levels of the Iranian power structure and that there was considerable interest in Tehran in the possibility of a wider diplomatic opening. Certainly, from an Iranian perspective, the platform had been created for exploring such an opening.

However, in his January 2002 State of the Union address (just six weeks after the Bonn Conference), President Bush placed the Islamic Republic in the axis of evil,” along with North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Iranian representatives missed the next monthly meeting with U.S. diplomats in protest, but—in a telling indication of Tehran’s seriousness about exploring a diplomatic opening to the United States—resumed participation in the discussions the following month. The bilateral channel on Afghanistan continued for another year, until the eve of the Iraq war, but it became clear the Bush administration was not interested in a broader, strategic dialogue with Iran. Indeed, the administration terminated the channel in May 2003, on the basis of unproven and never pursued allegations of the involvement of Iran-based al Qaeda figures in the May 12, 2003, bomb attacks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.23

Every one remembers what a huge deal it was when the ISG report suggested talking to Iran -- and the Bush administration acted like the whole idea was inconceivable. Leverette reveals here that there were bilateral monthly meetings right up until "the eve of the Iraq war", and that Iran was co-operatiing with the US on Afghanistan, and suggests that Iran was ready for wider co-operation --- and Bush turned them into an enemy.

I think your last two paragraphs are the ones they didn't want published. Iran has gained more than any country from Bush's missteps in the ME and they are in the catbird seat, with the help of Russia and China, as far as developing resources for the last push for fossil fuels.

Every time I hear someone say that Obama's Achilles heel is his lack of serious foreign policy and national security experience I want to gag. Rumsfeld and Cheney had more than any two people combined, and look where they led us. The issues are (1) judgment and values; (2) willing to listen to others and work with them while maintaining core principles and (3) being able to judge others on these skills. BushCo has done the countyry such damage. I hope it hits thier backers where it hurts as well.

The redacted editorial has been published by the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/22/opinion/22leverett.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin). Anybody up for a game of fill in the blanks? I'm swamped by work from my day job, but I can play next week.

I'm really curious about the last redaction. A single word (or perhaps a word and a number) on the second web page. What possible concern could they have had?

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